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Questions To Ask About School Data
Can your school data source pass this test?
1. Are the data quickly available?
People making critical decisions need access to information in a hurry. SchoolMatch® can provide custom tailored data within an hour.
2. Are data sources reliable?
Is the information collected auditable? Is it collected from official agency, county or state records rather than from the school systems themselves? John J. Cannell, M.D., received national attention from his Lake Wobegon School project. He surveyed every school in America and found self-reported data to be totally unreliable. Ninety percent of the nation's schools said their students were scoring above the national average on standardized tests - mathematically impossible.
3. Are the data comprehensive?
Are all U.S. public school systems, accredited private schools and international schools in the database for immediate retrieval? Are data validated over a long number of years in order to assure reliability and credibility? By studying data since 1985 SchoolMatch® developed tracking systems to identify fast improving or rapidly declining schools and school systems.
4. Is the information easy to understand?
Are the data presented in a national percentile format making it easy to compare one school to another?
5. Does the organization providing the data have a bias or conflict of interest?
Is the information available from a source which cannot profit from the decision?
6. Is the staff qualified to collect and interpret school data?
Research on school data, test results, financial and demographic information is complicated and requires significant skill on the part of the researcher-analyst. Typically, self-reported school data has repeatedly been found to be unreliable.
7. Are "mirror image" and "benchmark" features available?
Is the system designed to accurately compare schools in one area of the country with another?
8. Are the data comparable across county and state lines?
Do the numbers reflect differences in the ways in which counties and states organize schools?
9. Are demographic characteristics available?
The form of local government which affects families most is their local school system. Neighbors and others in the taxing and service district can also have a big impact on lifestyle.
10. Are the data current?
Are the data frequently updated and current? Is all information 100% new every twelve months?
11. Are experts available for families with special needs? What are the qualifications of the counselors?
Families with school concerns, including special needs children, gifted students, promising athletes, aspiring artists and those involved in international relocation, need expert advice and consultation. Counselors must have a high level of experience and graduate-level education.
SCHOOLMATCH® PASSES EVERY TEST!